5 L.A. Horror Stories That Could Happen to You

Did you hear about the guy who unwittingly ordered a $27 cocktail?

It may not feel like Halloween—what with these endless summer temps—but just because it’s warm outside doesn’t mean L.A. isn’t full of frights. Here are 5 locally themed short horror stories that will leave you shaking in your shorts and T-shirts.

The weather can be unpredictable in October, so you check the app on your phone before leaving home for the day. 68 AND SUNNY, it says. You put on pants, a long sleeved shirt, and a sweater and head out. As you wait for the bus, a bead of sweat forms and drips down your neck. You refresh your weather app. The new high is 86.

You’re making the rounds through West Hollywood with a group of friends. You stop into Gracias Madre, where everyone orders their drinks, opting to set up individual tabs. You ask the bartender what’s good. He asks you what you like. You answer tequila. “We have this really crazy drink,” he says. “It’s called Up In Smoke and it’s an infusion of tequila with cucumber and you drink it and smoke it.” That sounds fun so you order it up. Your drink arrives and everyone is talking about it. You feel so cool! Finally, it’s time to close out. “How much will it be?” you ask the bartender. He looks up with a crooked smile. “$27.25,” he hisses.

One of your best friends is coming into town. “I’m so excited!” they say. “Is there anything I should know before coming?” The two of you chat about places to go and where they should stay and you end the conversation excited and with a few dates circled on your calendar. On the date your friend arrives, you get a text: “Want to grab dinner tonight? Maybe near where I’m staying?” “Sure,” you write back. “What’s the address?” The street sounds so alien, so you type it into Google Maps, and then it hits you: Your friend is staying in Long Beach.

You go to your favorite coffee shop, the one with the cool floor tile and trendy line. You wait, as you always do, and eventually make it to the front to order. But when you arrive at the checkout stand the guy behind the counter looks uncharacteristically glum. “What’s the matter?” you ask. “We got bought,” he says. Then he slides over a tablet with a headline that reads, “Blockbuster: Peet’s Coffee & Tea Buys Intelligentsia Coffee.”

You move into a cozy corner of Silver Lake, a neighborhood you’ve wanted to live in for years. The supermarket nearby quietly goes out of business, and rumors begin to swirl that a nicer market is on the way. You go to investigate and find out a discount alternative to Whole Foods is moving in. You are furious. You start a petition. You sit and you wait. For what? For all of America to laugh at you.